APOLLO FOUR FORTY crafts a drum'n'bass that's unambitious, and all the better for it. Their new LP Electro Glide in Blue is filled with stock samples and busy breakbeats, and they seem totally content with its trad pop structures, much like fellow crossover winners the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. And like any good crossover, A440's got a radio-friendly single in their Van Halen cover, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub." If it weren't for Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You," this would be the most derivative remix in existence: It's basically Eddie's guitar line with a layer of breakbeats spread on top. Original or not, the mix brings a new nervous energy to the metalhead classic. After all, Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing is a distant cousin of the 'beat, though the connection is kind of elliptical. Both excite because they reach speeds that feel dangerously out of control, and both sucker punch us with cheap, visceral thrills. The only difference is that drum'n'bass is a relatively fresh way of getting amped, while Eddie's once-pioneering axe has been parodied by generations of duller-than-dull cock-rockers.
Still, frat boys may one day learn that you can actually mosh to drum'n'bass, and A440 may be one of the groups to teach them how to do it. And while Electro Glide isn't exactly a pick-to-click for chart domination, there are hints, in "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub" and elsewhere on this album, that suggest they know how to turn the jittery urgency that is drum'n'bass into fist-pumping arena rock. Give 'em a few years to hone their craft, and they just might storm the pop marketplace. Whether Drum'n'Bass: The Underground Phenomenon can handle the exposure is another question entirely.
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